Is your dishwasher starting to emit unpleasant odors that seem to linger on your dishes? Keeping your dishwasher clean goes beyond just sparkling dishes; it’s about ensuring a fresh scent every time you open it. Discovering how to eliminate those unwelcome smells effectively is essential for maintaining a pleasant kitchen environment.
We have put together this comprehensive guide to help you keep your dishwasher smelling fresh. In it, we will discuss four different methods for thoroughly cleaning your dishwasher using common household cleaning products such as white vinegar, bleach, lemons, and commercial cleaners.
Regardless of which method you use, we recommend you give your dishwasher a deep clean a few times a year to prevent foul odors from developing.
1. Clean your dishwasher with white vinegar
White vinegar is a powerful natural cleaner that will deodorize your dishwasher and remove any nasty smells. All you need to clean your dishwasher with white vinegar is a bottle of white vinegar, a dishwasher-safe cup, a clean cloth, and a spray bottle.
Here’s how to clean your dishwasher with white vinegar:
- Make sure the dishwasher is empty before starting.
- Fill a dishwasher-safe cup with white vinegar and position it on the top rack.
- Run the dishwasher on a hot cycle. The vinegar will sanitize and deodorize while breaking down any residual buildup.
- If you have baking soda on hand, sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher and run another short cycle. This will further eliminate odors and leave a fresh scent. If you don’t have baking soda, you can skip this step.
- Once the wash cycle ends, open the dishwasher door and let it air dry.
- While drying, remove the filter and spray arms and thoroughly clean them in hot, soapy water.
- Next, fill a spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and warm water, and then spray and wipe the door gasket as well as the exterior of the appliance.
- Place the filter and spray arms back into the dishwasher.
- Leave the door open to air dry for a few hours before using your dishwasher again.
2. Clean your dishwasher with bleach
If your dishwasher has a strong odor, using bleach is a surefire way to get it back to smelling fresh and clean. Just be careful when handling bleach so that it doesn’t come in contact with your skin. For cleaning the door gasket and exterior of the dishwasher, we recommend using a spray bottle of commercial cleaner or making your own by mixing equal parts white vinegar with warm water. The only other piece of equipment you’ll need is a clean cloth.
Here’s how to clean your dishwasher with bleach:
- Ensure the dishwasher is empty.
- Pour a cup of bleach into a dishwasher-safe container and place it on the bottom rack.
- Run the dishwasher on a hot cycle. The bleach will disinfect and eliminate odors.
- After completing the cycle, run another cycle without any bleach to rinse the dishwasher thoroughly.
- Remove the spray arms and filter and thoroughly clean them before placing them back into the dishwasher.
- Spray and wipe the door gasket and exterior of the dishwasher with a commercial cleaner.
- Let the dishwasher air dry for a few hours before using it again.
3. Clean your dishwasher with lemon
Using lemon juice to clean your dishwasher is an excellent natural method! It will remove bad odors and leave your appliance smelling fresh. For cleaning the door gasket and exterior of the dishwasher, you can use a commercial spray cleaner or mix 1/3 cup of lemon juice with 1 cup of warm water and pour it into an empty spray bottle. You will also need a clean cloth or two.
Here’s how to clean your dishwasher with lemon:
- Make sure there are no dishes inside before starting the cleaning process.
- Fill a dishwasher-safe container with about one cup of lemon juice. You can also use a whole lemon cut into quarters.
- Place the container filled with lemon juice on the top rack of the dishwasher.
- Run a hot water cycle on the dishwasher. Ensure that it is set to the hottest temperature possible. The acidity in the lemon juice helps to break down grease and grime while leaving a fresh scent.
- Once the cycle is complete, carefully remove the container with the lemon juice. If needed, you can also wipe down the dishwasher’s interior with a cloth or sponge.
- Remove the filter and spray arms, and clean them in your sink with hot, soapy water. Once clean, place them back into the dishwasher.
- Finally, clean the dishwasher’s door gasket and exterior surfaces with your spray cleaner and a clean cloth.
- Once the dishwasher has air-dried, you can start using it again.
4. Clean your dishwasher with a commercial cleaner
Dishwasher cleaning tablets or specialty commercial dishwasher cleaners are simple ways to give your dishwasher a deep cleaning. All you have to do is run your dishwasher on a cycle while it’s empty, and your appliance and all bad odors should disappear. To clean the exterior of your dishwasher and the door gasket, you will need a clean cloth and a bottle of commercial spray cleaner.
Here’s how to clean your dishwasher with a commercial cleaner:
- Purchase a commercial cleaner specifically designed for dishwashers, or use one of your usual tablets.
- Before running a cycle, ensure your dishwasher is empty.
- Place the cleaner or tablet in the detergent dispenser or directly in the dishwasher and run a cycle. Make sure you set your dishwasher to the hottest setting.
- Once the cycle ends, remove the filter and spray arms and thoroughly clean them. Once clean, place them back into the dishwasher.
- Finally, clean the door gasket and exterior surfaces with a commercial spray cleaner.
- Leave your dishwasher door open for a few hours to let the appliance air dry before using it again.